Fitness instructor Glenn Atkins stands Wednesday in his fourth-floor studio Front Burner Fitness on Main Street in Lewiston wearing one of his T-shirts promoting positive messages. His mission is to spread social justice and compassion. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Words to live by. It’s the mantra of Glenn Atkins, a personal trainer committed to helping people live a healthy and positive lifestyle.

It’s on the T-shirts he wears to promote his mission of social justice and compassion.

“Everyone can have others do things for them but it is only you who can keep your own body and mind in good shape,” he said. “Sometimes people just need a little help and encouragement getting there.”

Over the past few decades, Atkins has helped many people get their bodies in shape and now hopes his words will contribute to starting positive changes in people’s minds and encourage peace and compassion.

Atkins preaches the idea that what people say and do not only matters to them but is an integral part of turning around a world filled with selfishness and anger. He decided to promote his messages by printing them on T-shirts. And it’s paying dividends.

Recently he was in line at a grocery store when a woman behind him read his T-shirt and was so taken by the message, she offered to pay for his groceries.


“‘I’m trying to teach my 3-year-old about random acts of kindness,'” Atkins said the woman told him.

He said a woman in line behind her noticed his shirt and said, “‘Everyone should be wearing that shirt.'”

The back has “TRUTH” written in big letters and “Thankful, Respectful, Understanding, Thoughtful, Hopeful” to stand for each letter.

It is one of a few shirts available on his website,

“I hope to make a few bucks to help pay the bills but the main reason I am doing it is to promote social justice and compassion,” Atkins said. “Too many people are caught up in themselves and disregard others. There is a big lack of humanity and respect for others these days. If enough of us go out of our way to be nice, sacrifice for others, and look for ways to help, we can change the future.”

“The power of suggestion and words to live by is what humanity is all about,” he said. “Compassion, respect and acceptance. It can be contagious.”


“If you wear it, you can share it,” Atkins said.

Atkins believes divisive politics and corporate greed have exacerbated the negative attitudes, creating too much hate and mistrust with social media being out of control.

“COVID just made it worse,” he said.

However, he has not lost hope in humanity and believes people just need to be reminded that it is up to each one to go out of our way to help others.

“It’s amazing how good it feels when you make the decision to do something kind, even if it’s just a tiny gesture,” Atkins said. “Getting a wave or smile from someone when you ease off the gas and let them cut in instead of speeding up and blocking them can make a big difference. Instead of possibly making their day worse or raising their anger level, you might just turn their day around.

“It’s amazing how one small act of kindness can change someone’s day and who knows, it might just get them to do something nice for someone else and it just keeps rolling,” he said. “I’m hoping the shirts will remind people of it.”


Sitting in his fourth-floor fitness studio, Front Burner Fitness, on Main Street on Wednesday afternoon, he reflected on his message and outlook for the future.

“We are all on this earth for a short time and you can’t take what you make with you so it’s important to leave a lasting message and positive legacy,” he said. “How you act and treat others has a direct result on how you feel about yourself. You have to put yourself out there, like Martin Luther King. I took his message and changed it a bit, for legal and copyright reasons.”

Atkins’ messages are his own as well as those of others he had put his spin on.

He credits King Jr. for this one: “We are judged from the content of our character, not the skin that we’re in.”

It is from his “I Have a Dream” speech delivered Aug. 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Atkins has been spinning his positive messages with his actions for years and hopes to spread the word on the backs of others.

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